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Critic Of NBC Olympics Coverage Has Twitter Account Suspended for Posting Exec’s Email

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Twitter shut down Independent reporter Guy Adams after he tweeted a top NBC executive’s email address. Adams has been a staunch critic of NBC’s Olympics coverage, tweeting up a storm about NBC’s factual inaccuracies and other broadcast shortcomings.

Adams tweeted the corporate email address of Gary Zenkel, President of the NBC Olympics. Twitter suspended Adams’ account for supposedly posting someone else’s private information, which is against the company’s rules. However, Zenkel’s email address could probably have been found with minimal research and use of the Google machine to see how NBC structures its generic corporate email addresses.

Twitter and NBC are partners for the Olympic Games, setting up a nice field day for conspiracy theorists.

Deadspin, which has crushed coverage of this, has emails between Adams and Twitter support.

First, here’s Adams:

guyadams, Jul 29 11:39 am (PDT):

Regarding: Suspended account Subject: My account seems to have been suspended Description of problem: No idea why. Any chance you could tell me? Full name: Guy Adams Twitter username: @guyadams Email address: xxx

Then, the reply:

Hello,

Your account has been suspended for posting an individual’s private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents.

Tweet link: https://twitter.com/guyadams/status/228973760785547264 Tweet content: The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com

It is a violation of the Twitter Rules to post the private and confidential information of others. For more information on this policy, please see the following policy page:

http://support.twitter.com/entries/18368

If you would like to request your account to be restored, please respond to this email and confirm that you’ve read and understood our rules: http://twitter.com/rules

Please note that future Twitter Rules violations may result in permanent account suspension. We appreciate your cooperation going forward. Thanks,

@cbellarun Twitter Trust and Safety

Adams rebuked Twitter in a follow-up email:

Hi Rachel

They’ve dealt with this (see below). Would you mind if I give you a quick call to discuss? I’m of course happy to abide by Twitter’s rules, now and forever. But I don’t see how I broke them in this case: I didn’t publish a private email address. Just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google, and is identical to one that all of the tens of thousands of NBC Universal employees share.

It’s no more “private” than the address I’m emailing you from right now.

Either way, quite worrying that NBC, whose parent company are an Olympic sponsor, are apparently trying (and, in this case, succeeding) in shutting down the Twitter accounts of journliasts who are critical of their Olympic coverage.

Am I to presume, for example, that they decided to complain about me because of my recent article in the Indy’s news page about their various failures? (see link)

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/as-america-succeeds-at-the-games-back-home-all-the-talk-is-about-nbcfail-7986147.html

And if so, isn’t it a bit rum that they succeed in shutting down my account?

Either way, thanks for expediting all of this.

Yours &c

Guy

I’ve reached out to Twitter for comment and I’ll keep you posted.

Of course, now Zenkel’s email has been far more widely distributed than it would have been if Twitter didn’t suspend Adams’ account. Again, that’s g-a-r-y, dot, z-e-n-k…

Update: According to Richard Deitsch, an NBC Sports Spokesperson has released the following statement, “We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline.”

And now, Adams has posted a story on The Independent’s website about the incident.